Today you can get a peak into what I do to make The Charm of Home exist each week. I am happy to join Kathy of A Delightsome Life. If it wasn't for Kathy asking me to share this info with you I probably wouldn't have thought of it.
Well to start with, blogs are a lot like icebergs! I saw this graphic and it was exactly what I wanted to portray. You only see maybe up to 4 posts a week on TCOH but, hour upon hour goes into making this blog run. Let's look a little closer and I will show you why this is so. First of all correspondence is very time consuming. It involves giveaways, advertising, reviews, new products, feedback, and possibly event invitations. Luckily I am to the point I get all of these and I don't always participate due to small children at home, schedule, etc. But, I have to read and respond. Then you have questions about anything and everything to answer that come in through email. I do answer most (legitimate) questions within 24 hours. I do try to visit and read my favorite blogs each week also. I can do this better now in my sidebar than I do in my reader since Blogger reorganized the reader it seems a bit useless. Commenting is a hot topic. The rule of thumb in the blogging community is to comment to every comment you receive. Well....I can't get to them all. Sorry, I just can't. I try to visit all the people who join me each week at Home Sweet Home (my party). At the current number I get for that party, around 120 a week, it takes 8 hours to visit each participant and look at, at least one of their post. I have tried for the last year to have a rule of thumb not to spend more than 4 hours a day in my computer chair. (But at least once a week I spend 12 hours a day in this chair! Ha!) So I tend to break up visiting with the participants into two days. I am also doing this at the end of the week closer to my next party date because I feel it reminds people to join me for the upcoming party. That seems to keep my party numbers up. I am really happy with the party. It is a lot of fun and I really enjoying visiting you each week. Lots of talent and inspiration visit me!
So for the rest of the comments I get all week long, I try to pick some to visit but, I just don't get to them all.
So, how do I organize my post in the planning stage each week. I have a running idea sheet on a legal pad and then when the pictures are taken and the post is in draft I use this organizer to participate in each party every week.
I not only just post to the blog, I post to Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. These social media outlets are perfect ways to grow your blog. Why do I pick these? Tumblr is for the visual people and it showcases my photography well. Google+ is a way for those who don't have a Blogger Blog or who don't like Facebook to view my content. Pinterest is a social media dynamo. It also showcases my blog really well because it is so visual and people are really getting this. It is like looking at a virtual magazine everyday. It is a very powerful social media tool and if you aren't using it go ask for an invite. You will enjoy it, I promise. Twitter was one that surprised me. I really thought I wouldn't like it and I have been doing it a few months now and I love it. It is the most abbreviated version of all social media and I love to read tweets and view photos posted. So much so, that I may have a smart phone soon! It is awesome! Now that brings us to Facebook! The most powerful social media tool but, for me the most disappointing. When I first started to blog I was hacked through Facebook and they also hacked my blog. I just kept on blogging on another computer but, I haven't trusted it since. Oh, and my blog automatically feeds to people in RSS feeds, in email, and through Networked Blogs.
What I like about blogging the most is connecting with people. I'm getting to meet online so many interesting people that I would never have the chance to know. I also like that I get to use my design skills that otherwise would stay buried and unused in my daily life. It is a wonderful thing to be creative.
I try to balance it all. I am raising a family and staying at home with all of my time involved with the family. I do babysit several days a week and that keeps me hopping. I have tried expanding into an Etsy shop but, I don't feel I do it justice because I never have the time to sew or hunt up many treasures for resale. I even on occasion substitute teach. I have never had any help with this blog. I have just learned it all on my own. I have met a few bloggers who were a lot of help to me and I have tried to help them out when they have had questions. I have not had any money to spend on this blog, so I have never hired a professional blog designer.
What might I have done differently? In trying ways to increase my revenue on my blog I tried an affiliate program. I had several buttons for retail outlets on my blog for months and it gained me nothing. I feel affiliates didn't work for my blog at all. So, I wouldn't waste my time with them again. What has worked for me to generate revenue, well, if you have the time Etsy is a great way to sell handmade or vintage items. It really works. I also have had a really good experience with BlogHer. They have a review program and paid advertising which both are working out for TCOH.
I don't plan to take my blog to a different platform. I am not looking to publish it differently and as much as Blogger gives everyone trouble on occasion, I think it being owned by Google puts you in a good position to help you grow. So, I am staying put.
The most important thing I have gained from blogging? I have been most amazed at the sweet, sweet comments so many people leave me. In the beginning, I would wonder why was I blogging, what good was it doing? My husband dared me to do it. I had never really read a decorating blog. If I had, I would have never ever put that first post up. I would have days; after I found the other decorating blogs, when I would feel down about blogging and then someone would leave me a sweet comment and I would feel so blessed to be able to connect with you and hear those kind words. So the most important thing for me has been encouragement and connecting with you. Thank you! I appreciate it very much.